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#EvangelicalsSoWhite: The Oscars, Race, and the Church

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Comments (8)
  1. Kennon Wigley says:

    Jemar, thank you for your continued efforts for reconciliation and unity within the church. You are appreciated! Your ministry through RAAN has been very helpful in awakening me to many issues I was either ignorant of or insensitive to.
    I would like to pass along some suggestions to those seeking to better understand some of the issues of systemic racism, especially within the church. 1. Prayerfully read “Divided by Faith”. It is enlightening and convicting to those in the majority church. 2. Prayerfully read “One New Man” by Jarvis Williams. It is inspiring and hopeful. 3. Consider visiting a majority African American church. 4. Listen carefully to our African American brothers and sisters without trying to rebut what they are saying. 5. Consider going to the LDR conference. It was enlightening for myself and my wife as well as a wonderful time in fellowship.

  2. Nate says:

    First of all, I want to say I applaud this website and I applaud what you are doing. I am eager for a Reformed Reformation and that would not only benefit but would actually require significant and meaningful contributions from the black community. Please take what I am about to say as a contribution to the discussion not contradiction. Also I am going to use a very broad brush. Please understand that I understand that the issues are far more complicated, but you have to start somewhere.

    It is my perception that if a thing can be interpreted as racist or racially motivated it will be by much of the black community. If a thing can’t be interpreted as racist or racially motivated it will be ignored. For example there are a larger proportion of black academy award winners than percentage of blacks in the U.S. population. The number of black SAG actors and film roles are about equivalent to the percentage of the black population. That is ignored. A year or two of no black nominations to the premium on screen awards and its proof of systemic racism and boycotts are called for! Hey, boycott all you want, I think the academy awards represent nothing more than a bunch of incestuous, self congratulating narcissists, but that is a different subject. Blacks enjoy every level of power and wealth in this country. Again, that is a broad brush statement I know but it is still true. That combined with “micro aggressions” “dog whistle words” “safe spaces” “check your privilege” “hey white people” and on and on and on …. The signal to noise ration is very low to say the least!

    But more importantly, what is it that you want? And I’m not asking for some subjective open-to-interpretation thing like “sensitivity” or “inclusion”. MLK defined his vision well I think with “… content of character rather than color of skin.” What do you want white Christians to do, go to black churches? I don’t know of any reformed black churches near me. If I did I would go there in a heartbeat. I’ve looked! My wife is black and not reformed. Shoot, I’d pay money to have a black reformed church to attend!

    So please don’t me up, I’m not looking for a flame war. I think I share your vision with respect to this website. If I don’t share it completely I am at least sympathetic to it.

  3. William says:

    “If the insensitivity continues, black Christians, like black actors and the Oscars, may leave majority white evangelical contexts.”

    I’m fighting hard to avoid this. I can’t escape common truths that drive me to it though. Like, if their was a predominantly black church with predominantly black leadership we aren’t going to see many of our white brothers & sisters being intentional about coming there, & fighting through the challenges to bridge gaps the way we see people of color going to the predominantly white churches and doing these things. Committing to love their brethren and fight lovingly through barriers. It’s the history of too many white Americans to treasure the privileges of being white more then they do the opportunity to love all men in like fashion. Even in the Church. But they will ignore the major facts that point to this to point to the minimal instances that seem to disprove it. As a black male Christian is very frustrating and discouraging. I pray that in spite I will love my family in Christ well

  4. Craig says:

    Pastor Vincent,

    Not wanting to speak for Jamar here, but is it possible that you may have missed his larger point? A more charitable reading of the piece may reveal that his mention of the Oscars was simply to draw a correlation between how people of color are viewed generally in the world and in the church when it comes to leadership involvement and recognition of place and significance.

    Concerning Dr. VanDrunen—who I am fond of for his work at Westminster—it should be noted that his and others writings adhere to various versions of radical two-kingdom theology. Although in disagreement with his position, I respect it, and only mention it to highlight the fact that one’s understanding of the different interpretive grids with which we see God’s work in the world and in the church will significantly impact how issues of race, class, socioeconomic status, etc. are considered.

    Grace to you,

    Craig

  5. Ike Hughes says:

    Jemar,

    Thank you for this article and others like it on this site. It is a travesty that the Academy has ignored the contributions of so many fine actors and actresses.

    As a white brother, many of your posts and podcasts cause me the sanctifying pain of searching my heart and seeking to repent of any racism in my life. Please keep up the work you are doing.

    One thing I would ask is, “How?” How do we as white, reformed pastors begin the work in our communities and denominations to change this. You may have addressed this in other posts that I have not dug down to as yet, so the fault may be mine.

    Keep up the good and difficult work.

    God bless,
    Ike Hughes

    1. Pam says:

      Ike,

      How? You are a Christian. You should know how to love your neighbor.
      Black folks should not have to tell you how to accept us.

      Pray. Examine your heart. Read your Bible. Hear from God and obey.

      That’s what we all should be doing.

  6. Larry Vincent says:

    My brother Tisby, I do not know you but I’m drawn to you because of the word “reformed” in your organization’s name. I’m a white Reformed Baptist pastor who looks forward to heaven with every brother and sister in Christ. May I recommend a book to you? It is David VanDrunen’s “Living in God’s Two Kingdom’s”. My brother, the current racial tensions and plans of the Oscar committees are not worth your time and energy. You prepared to serve a local church as a minister of the Gospel; give yourself to that- leave these other concerns to our King. Respectfully, Larry Vincent

    1. Daniel says:

      Larry,

      Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. “Pie in the sky when you die” isn’t and has never been the Christian message.

      Daniel

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